Jon Stewart's first talk show kicked off with a Hitler joke so bad he was nearly canceled

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Jon Stewart turned the overheated rhetoric about vaccine mandates into a Hitler game show joke on his new Apple TV+ series, The Problem With Jon Stewart. But it wasn't his first Hitler joke, he told his writing staff in a behind-the-scenes clip posted online Thursday. "One of the first things I did in television was I was doing a talk show for Paramount, in 1994 I think, and I was replacing Arsenio," he said. And he and one of his writers came up, late one night, with an idea that he would bring out the writer dressed as Hitler and interview him.

It went about as well as you might imagine, and as soon as they cut to commercial, Stewart recalled, Paramount called the control booth and ordered the show to memory-hole the segment or face cancelation.

Stewart took a more critical "relatively closer look" at Hitler references on The Daily Show in 2005, but if you want to find a copy of the 1994 Paramount talk show, your best bet is probably reading the transcript for a mock Larry King interview of Hitler he included in his 1998 book, Naked Pictures of Famous People. He recorded it with Mike O'Meara, who played Larry King, for WNYC in 2003, and you can listen to that below.

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